By Martha Lucier, CCSS Co-Founder
32 years ago, as I lay next to my two and a half year old daughter, Natalie, I recall hearing an important message that has stuck with me ever since. As she clutched her favourite stuffed animal, ‘Popples’, I heard an inner voice share these words ‘It is important for you to follow through with your dreams. Your children chose you as their Mother for a reason. When you follow through with your dreams, you give them permission to follow theirs. If you don’t follow through with your dreams, their dreams cannot be fulfilled’.
I have recalled this message many times over the years. Each time I came across an obstacle that seemed insurmountable, those wise words inspired me to find a way to cultivate faith within myself and continue to dream and create for a greater purpose than myself.
An elder once read my palm. He looked at me wide eyed and said, ‘You see this line here? It travels all the way from the bottom of the palm of your hand to the very top of your finger. You have something many, many people do not have; the ability to follow a dream all the way to it’s conclusion’. Manifesting a dream takes great courage, focus and concentration, a strong belief in miracles and a willingness to acknowledge and work with the magic maker within.
I began engaging in shamanic practice in 1993, when I met my first power animal, whale. Whale planted a seed of a dream in me, for healing, beginning within myself, and spiralled out to include my children, family and all my relations. Through whale I received guidance and deep peace through a connection to the Great Mother Love that it embodies. Whale became a messenger and guide for the shamanic circle that grew from the seed it had placed within my heart, eventually leading to the creation of Northern Edge Algonquin Retreat and Awareness Centre.
My daughter, Natalie, has grown up with our Northern Edge, and CCSS circle family. Many in our community have known Natalie since she was a young teenager, witnessing her blossom as she answered the calling of the whale clan. In 2009, while Natalie was living in Newfoundland, Whale gifted me a story to share with her Story of Whale, and a message that she was their spokesperson, or messenger. On a trip to Labrador that summer, Natalie encountered a humpback whale feeding close to a rock, filming the whole experience. Soon afterwards CBC National Television broadcasted the footage across Canada.
In the winter of 2012, while on a trip to Hawaii, Natalie captured some very close and beautiful photos of the humpbacks. Just as we were leaving the harbour, a humpback breached very close to the boat. The captain and crew were amazed at how many whales we saw that day, as Natalie, myself and circle member Jan Beaver, were struck with ‘Whale Bliss’. During that same trip, at a dream workshop with Robert Moss, Natalie received the name ‘Whale Listener’.
~ photos by Natalie Lucier
In preparation for her journey as a filmmaker, that year, our shamanic circle sang a whale song into a shaker, gifting it to Natalie as she headed to the British Columbia coast as a volunteer for Orca Lab, where she spend the summer living in a hut, on a remote island filming orca whales.
During that summer, I had a dream in which I looked down and saw a tattoo on my top left foot, in the shape of a circle. I travelled to meet Natalie that autumn in Haida Gwaii, northern British Columbia. The first thing I noticed was a tattoo on Natalie’s top left foot, of a mother and baby orca whale, in the shape of a circle.
We stayed in a small cabin named ‘Moon Shell’ on the fringe of a mossy rain forest, lulled to sleep each night by the surf of the Pacific. Each day we walked the beach collecting shells, while looking for any sign of a whale. While walking the beach one day, a dog came running towards us, with the owner close behind calling ‘Molly’! This was the name of my daughter Emily’s dog. We introduced ourselves to the mysterious man.
~ photo by Natalie Lucier
As we were putting gas in the car the following day, the same man drove up behind our vehicle. As he and Natalie engaged in a conversation, he wrote his phone number on a sticky note and gave it to Natalie, inviting her to contact him if she was going to be in the area for much longer. He also wrote the number on the back of her dirt-covered car, she affectionately named ‘The Horse’.
The next day, after Natalie dropped me off at the airport, she searched for the sticky note with the number, but couldn’t find it. She remembered he had written it on the back of her car. She made several attempts to call, and on her last attempt he answered, saying that he was at the top of a mountain, outside of cell service, and was not sure how the call came through. They arranged to meet later that day and go for a hike, as Natalie had one day left before making the long return journey home.
~ photo by Natalie Lucier
On the day Natalie was due to depart Haida Gwaii, a storm rolled in and all the ferries were cancelled. Natalie’s new friend invited her to stay with him. During her extended visit, they went for a very long hike to see a beached whale. From this moment, their relationship grew deeper, and eventually they decided to marry.
Natalie stayed another month in Haida Gwaii, and began her long journey home in November, to gather her things and bring closure to her life in Ontario. As she approached one of the mountain passes through the Rockies, she hit a snow squall and she and her vehicle came very close to falling off the mountain. She called us on that day, November 10th, very anxious from her experience, as we celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday.
Once she arrived home in Ontario, she shared with us the news that she and her new friend had fallen in love and decided to marry. Friends who heard the story, reminded Natalie of a dream she had before she left to go to B.C. In the dream, a whale came up out of the water, onto the beach and transformed into a man. At the time, she said she was going to meet the ‘man of her dreams’ out there.
Natalie was still very shaken from her near death experience on the mountain, so I entered into a shamanic journey to access healing on her behalf. I saw a part of her still sitting at the top of the mountain, on a fence. This soul part of Natalie shared that she was not sure she was ready to be in a relationship without giving away her own dreams, passion and power.
In January 2013, Natalie left Ontario, driving across the country, to begin her new life on the coast of Haida Gwaii. She had dreams, every night of the orca’s. They were pulling her nose, and biting her hands. Meanwhile, her relationship was not going well and slowly she fell into a depression. She could not find work and her dream of making a film slowly slipped away.
On the summer solstice, Natalie and her husband went on a boat fishing. It was the first time she was on the ocean, since she had moved to Haida Gwaii. A pod of orcas surprised them, circling the boat and displaying unusual behaviours. Natalie was very excited, however her husband found the whales annoying, as they interfered with the fishing expedition. It was at this moment, Natalie realized it was time to come home to her ‘family’ and end the relationship, for her partner did not value or appreciate what she was most passionate about. As she began the long journey home to Ontario, she realized she was pregnant.
While Natalie was living in the hut at Orca Lab, an elder befriended her, frequently stopping by the island, to check on whether she needed any assistance. His name was Joe. He lived with his family in Alert Bay, as part of the Namgis Indigenous nation, and Pacific Northwest Kwakwaka’wakw speaking peoples.
When she was leaving Alert Bay, to travel north to Haida Gwaii, Joe was the last person she said goodbye to as she boarded the ferry. After she returned to Ontario, Joe and Natalie continued to communicate through the internet. He often sent her beautiful photos of nature and artifacts he discovered in the remote area’s he travelled. As the due date of Natalie’s son came close, Joe said to Natalie that he would be born on March 6th, the date of his wife’s birthday. Sure enough, Everest Rene Lucier was born on March 6th, 2014, the ‘man of her dreams’.
Shortly after Everest was born Natalie had a dream about Joe. There was a Potlatch being held on his behalf, and Natalie, myself and her brother Tim were present. There was great excitement because a killer whale had come through the inlet, which was unusual. When Natalie awoke from the dream, she contacted Joe to share the dream with him. Before she had a chance to share it, he asked if it was a good dream? After sharing the dream, Joe said ‘Natalie, I want you to promise me something….when Evie is old enough, that he can have dreadlocks, I want you to tell him, he has a human family here in Alert Bay. He is part of the ‘Whale Clan’ and also part of the ‘Whale Family’. He was a whale, long before you and I were in human form.’ Natalie promised she would share this message with Everest when he was old enough to understand. A few days later, Joe passed away from cancer. Natalie wondered if the whale in her dream was coming to take Joe home to his whale family.
In Everest’s bedroom, there were many killer whale pictures and figurines. After Joe passed away, every day for a month, the figurines and pictures tilted on their own, after being uprighted and straightened. Natalie felt Joe’s presence and encouragement to get back to making the film.
Supported by the love of her family, Natalie adjusted to being a single mother to Everest as she began recreating her life. Eventually she moved to Huntsville, Ontario, where she found the film team she was seeking, to gather the pieces she had collected and create the film of her dreams.
In the autumn of 2016, just as Natalie’s work as a film-maker got rolling, my mother entered the hospital, with liver cancer. 34 years earlier, around the time my twin daughter’s were born, my mother, an alcoholic, ceased drinking after a near death experience. She had a choice to come back to this life and complete what she set out to do, or transition to the afterlife. She begged to come back, with a promise she would never drink again. My twin daughter’s are the spitting image of my mother, with red hair, green eyes and fair skin.
As my mother’s life faded, it was as though her life energy was fueling the living dreams of her family. Natalie secured interviews with her mentor Rob Stewart, and idol David Suzuki, whom she admired since she was a child.
My daughter, Emily, Natalie’s twin sister was expecting a baby, on November 13th 2016, however our youngest grandchild, Rowan Todd Lucier was born November 1st, the first red head of the next generation! On November 13, 2016, the 34th birthday of my twin daughters, my mother Rosemary Antoinette Fancsy made her final journey, bringing her life to it’s fullest completion. Moments before her death, her spirit spoke to me, asking me to promise that I would always remember that she lives in my heart and in life all around me. Since her death, I’ve witnessed many miracles and gifts of her life inspiring the magic makers within us all. Holding my new grandson in my arms I see my mother’s spirit shining through his beautiful smile and tender eyes. As we prepare for the premiere of Natalie’s film ‘To the Orca’s, With Love’, I feel my Mother’s love and support, fueling Natalie’s dream.
This past July, my husband Todd and I celebrated our 35th anniversary in the Galapagos. While on a boat in the Pacific a Blue Whale, the largest and loudest mammal on the Earth with the largest heart, swam under the boat, coming very close and staying with us for quite some time. The guides and crew of the boat, who have been offering tours for over 30 years, had never seen a Blue Whale. I was reminded of the Story of Whale I received in 2009 about the key the whale carries in it’s heart. Within a half an hour, we had another surprise visitor. An orca whale was balancing a sea turtle on it’s back. We were awestruck. It stayed for quite some time as well. See photos and videos here.
When we came home after sharing the video’s and story of the whales, we realized there was no coincidence we saw a Blue Whale and Orca on our trip, just as Natalie’s film was ready to be birthed. It felt as though whale was delivering a message, not only to us, but all humans on that day. Our hearts were activated with vibrations of love, unity and peace, awakening the magic maker with us to help restore life upon the Earth. The whales delivered a key that day, about the importance of coming together as a pod, to dream beyond what we think is possible.
The main message of the film ‘To the Orca’s, with Love’ is about the strength of family connection, love and compassion. “Orcas have another part of the brain that is the emotional / family connectedness side that we as humans could not understand because we do not have it. It is a large part of their brain and their own family & social connectedness is a fundamental part of their life. Family and bonding is everything to them.” ~ Natalie
In circle, we are the midwives and caretakers of each other’s dreams, helping each other tend to the seeds we plant in our soul’s garden. In circle, we open to receive the support of the ancestors, the love of thousands upon thousands who fuel our dreams coming to life. In circle, we remind each other of the magic maker within us all, rising together into our potential.
What dreams and prayers are coming to life for us now? What would it be like to celebrate and open to receive the gifts of our co-creations?
To the Orcas, With Love
Natalie’s relationship with orcas inspires her to restore a loving relationship with herself and this remarkable planet.
Stories of personal connections with orcas, beautiful cinematography featuring B.C’s resident orcas, and an evocative soundscape composed by Jeff Rona provide an uplifting contrast to the environmental challenges we face. Inspired by elders including environmentalist and CBC Broadcaster, David Suzuki, whale researchers Alexandra Morton and Paul Spong, totem carver Wayne Alfred, and lifelong resident of the Broughton archipelago Billy Proctor, this film is anchored by Rob Stewart’s invitation to rise up and create the world we dream for ourselves.
Viewers will come to understand the importance of the personal choices we make; it becomes clear that what we do to nature, we do to ourselves.
Can’t make it to the film? Stay tuned for other showings by checking out the Facebook Page for To the Orcas, With Love. If you can help raise awareness of this fantastic documentary, please consider sharing the page or the World Premiere event with friends!
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